Monday, 21 May 2012

And That’s the Way It Isn’t: Ten Liberal Myths People Believe

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When a big lie is repeated often enough and becomes “truth,” there can be serious consequences. For reality is like a jigsaw puzzle: If too many pieces (little pictures) are wrong, you’ll never be able to assemble them and see the big picture. The result is dislocation from reality. What follows are 10 big lies that have gained currency — and the actual truth behind them.

1. Pope Pius XII was a Nazi Collaborator

According to Rabbi David Dalin in his book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, Pius saved at least 800,000 Jews from extermination at the hands of the Nazis. This is why, during and especially just after WWII, Pius was roundly praised by Jewish figures such as Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, and Moshe Sharett, just to name a few.

So what happened? Well, five years after Pius’ death, a play called The Deputy was made by leftist Rolf Hochhuth. It portrayed Pius as a self-serving man who was indifferent if not hostile to the Nazis’ Jewish victims, and the increasingly secular world ran with it. The Big Lie was repeated until it was “truth.”

But the back story here is even more interesting: The highest-ranking communist intelligence officer to ever defect to the West, Ion Mihai Pacepa, divulged that the attack on Pius — including The Deputy — was no accident. It was Soviet agitprop.

2. There are more whites than blacks on welfare

When responding to this, educated people often mention that only percentages matter, not raw numbers. But here’s the real surprise: The basic assertion itself is incorrect and has been since the 1990s welfare reform. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Assistance, in 2002 (the last year I found statistics for), 659,296 white families were on welfare versus 782,914 black families. This phenomenon held true even when norming for income: Poor whites were less likely to receive welfare than poor blacks.

3. Men are more likely to get involved in car accidents than women

Fellows do get into more accidents, but only because they drive considerably more — 60 to 65 percent more, actually. Per million miles driven, however, men are involved in markedly fewer accidents. This is true beginning at the age of 25; among those younger, the sexes’ accident rates are now similar.

To break it down further, the safest drivers are men between the ages of 40 and 60.

4. Pedophilia is an unusually big problem in the Catholic Church

Not according to an official U.S. government-sponsored study. Reported last year:

According to Charol Shakeshaft, the researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

[In fact] … “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”

So why does everyone focus on the church? Hillary Profita of CBS News provides some insight:

During the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government's discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools.

People focus on where media place the spotlight — whether it belongs there or not.

5. The Crusades were an expansionist West’s attempt to convert the Muslim world to Christianity

Medieval historian Dr. Thomas Madden debunks this myth in his essay “The Real History of the Crusades,” writing:

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them.... The Seljuk Turks [had] conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western [sic] Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

[The Crusades] were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Read more about the Crusades here.

6. Women earn less than men because of discrimination

Simple sound bites such as “a woman only makes 77 cents to man’s dollar" may be rhetorically effective, but the truth lies in the statistics behind that statistic. For example, “full-time” women work fewer hours than “full-time” men do. Women enter less lucrative fields, such as the soft instead of the hard sciences. Relative to men, they’re more likely to decline promotions, place emphasis on flexibility and personal fulfillment, and take time off; and they’re less likely to be willing to travel, relocate, or take on dangerous jobs. Simply put, they’re more willing to sacrifice money for lifestyle. Journalist Carrie Lukas explains this all beautifully in her piece, “A Bargain At 77 Cents to a Dollar.”

By the way, in some cities, in many fields and very often when qualifications are equal, women earn more than men — largely because of affirmative action and quotas. 

7. Thirteen children a day are killed with guns

Sometimes the number cited is 14, but neither figure is accurate. More significantly, most of those killed are actually teenage gang members, as this statistic includes individuals up to the age of 19.

So don’t offer your nanny skills for any of these “children” — you may end up remaking “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.”

8. Most wars are caused by religion

One minute of critical thought reveals this one as a falsehood. Pick most any conqueror imaginable — Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, etc. — and it becomes plain that, with few exceptions, wars were motivated by a desire for power, glory, and riches, not religion.

9. Liberals are more charitable than conservatives

In reality, “liberal” today isn’t synonymous with “liberality.” For example, Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks conducted research showing that conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than liberals — despite earning 6 percent less. And thus do red-state residents donate more than wealthier blue-state ones.

But it goes beyond money. Studies also show that conservatives donate considerably more blood, are more likely to care for sick relatives and place others’ happiness ahead of their own, are less envious and less likely to place emphasis on money. Conservatives even hug their children more.    

10. The world faces dangerous over-population.

In truth, fertility rates are below replacement levels (2.1 children per woman) in more than 100 countries worldwide; this includes nations you wouldn’t expect, such as Muslim lands Algeria, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tunisia.

The problem is so severe in many places — in parts of Spain and Italy the fertility rate is less than one — that some nations are taking note and action. Russia, for example, pays women to have children. It isn’t working, though. The result? Man faces a graying world and the staggering consequences that can entail.

So there’s the list. Remember, imbibing misinformation makes choosing the right politicians and policies unlikely. A lie can’t become truth, but can become popular — and then popular will. And if formed on enough lies, popular will can kill.

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